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Do you miss traveling this year?

We sure do! Reminiscing can be a healthy and meaningful way to bring happiness from our past into the present.

This time of year always makes me think of the ACCT service trip. Right now I’d love to be in Kampala sitting in the shade of an acacia tree, drinking a Stoney after a medical clinic, and talking with Dr. Franklin, Caleb, and Peace about big ACCT plans. Even though that’s not happening for us this year, both you and I can still be involved with our beloved community in East Africa.

Whether you choose to reflect on your past service trip experiences or make a new memory by writing a note of encouragement to children in Uganda, you can keep the spirit of the trip alive! Dress up in your Ugandan-made clothes (like the ACCT did in this photo for a church service a few years back), go through photos from previous trip experiences, and please share your questions with us at AmahoroChildrenUganda@gmail.com.

If you have not been on an ACCT service trip to Uganda, I invite you in particular to participate with us in this service trip from home – now with ten ways for you to be part of the ACCT’s heart warming work!

  1. Reflect on what service means to you
    • This time at home gives us more time to process the complex emotions of a service trip. Please share these memories of your past ACCT service trip (or any service trip) with us so we can learn from your experience!
  2. Revisit photos and memories of past service trips
  3. Write a letter to someone at the Amahoro Children’s Homes
    • Share your encouragement with vulnerable children at the Amahoro Children’s Home, the Youth Gateway Ranch, and the Amahoro Community School! You might even get a letter in return!
  4. Ask a question of an ACCT Leader in Uganda
    • Dr. Franklin Muwanguzi, Caleb Rukundo, and Peace Muteteri are the in country experts for Jungle Medical Missions and the Amahoro Children’s Homes. What do you want to know from them?
  5. Read a recommended book to inspire you
  6. Like the ACCT on facebook
    • If facebook is your thing, then you can enjoy staying in touch @ACCTUganda
  7. Sign up for our newsletter
  8. Dress up in your travel clothes and make an event out of it
    • Put on your Ugandan-made clothes, or just any travel clothes at all and enjoy the change of scenery from your wardrobe! Remember how light and breathable your safari shirt it?
  9. Tell a friend about us
    • Send this blog to friends and family who are interested in service trips
  10. Support the good work by making a donation or donating your airline miles
    • Make a donation to accessible medical care and education at acctuganda.ejoinme.org/donate. Eventually we will be flying Dr. Franklin out to visit us, or going to Uganda again on a service trip! If you have extra airline miles you don’t plan to use then you can put them to a good cause.

Happy reminiscing!

Lauren & the ACCT Family

Happy Juneteenth!

Hi friend,

We hope you and your loved ones are continuing to stay safe and healthy as COVID-19 continues to impact lives each day. The month of June has arrived and there is a special celebration that ACCT wants to highlight, acknowledge and share with you all… Today is Juneteenth!

Juneteenth, an annual holiday commemorating the end of the institution of slavery in the United States, has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800’s. Today we want to share with you the significance of this holiday, one we can all celebrate together.

The Emancipation Proclamation was declared on January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, but it wasn’t until almost two and a half years later, on June 19th, 1865, that the news was delivered to slaves in Galveston, Texas by Union General Gordon Granger. That’s where this holiday gets it’s name, from combining June and nineteenth! This day was monumental for American history and continues to hold significance today. 

Today we can celebrate the strength and resilience of our African American brothers and sisters here in the United States, and our brothers and sisters in Uganda. Please continue to stand in solidarity for justice and human rights for all. 

To learn more about Juneteenth check out this article and this video and share your knowledge with your friends and family!

We wish you well!

Lindsey Morgan, and the whole ACCT family

Teachers at the Amahoro Community School are pictured here with Lindsey Morgan in the leopard print skirt.

Meet the Team: Dr. Franklin’s Story

Born into a family of teachers in Uganda, Franklin is the youngest of 10 children. He spent most of his early years in hospitals with his mother as she battled breast cancer in a country where cancer was considered a low priority illness.  This was 1994, in the heart of a civil war that ravaged Northern Uganda and South Sudan. While at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu, the rebel leader Dr. John Garang asked Franklin about his aspirations. At 6 years of age, Franklin knew he wanted to be a doctor. This was also the year that Franklin’s mother succumbed to the disease. 

Franklin grew up and went to University in Uganda, working as a tour guide to pay his way through medical school. He earned his Diploma in Clinical Medicine and Community Health, with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, as well as a certificate in Project Planning and Management.

Today, Franklin is a family man with a wife and 3 children. His wife Ruth is a lawyer and was born a princess of the Tooro Kingdom in Western Uganda. Dr. Franklin dedicates most of his time to Jungle Medical Missions Uganda, a charity he founded with the aim of making quality healthcare available to everyone in Uganda. This charity treats underprivileged people in villages and slums for free, and sponsors mothers to receive free prenatal care, labor, and delivery services. He also works as a General Medical Practitioner at St. Mary’s Family Clinic, an upmarket private practice in Kampala.

If you thought Dr. Franklin wasn’t busy enough: he also owns a safari business called Wild Excursions Uganda, which makes the free year round community clinics possible. It is through this Safari business that Dr. Franklin met the Amahoro Children & Community Team. The ACCT partners with Jungle Medical Missions to put on free clinics where specialists from the US partner with Dr. Franklin’s team of local Doctors and Nurses.

Maama Kits

Written by Nurse Asha and Dr. Lorie

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Asha working at a medical clinic with Jungle Medical Missions and the ACCT

Mary*, a 36 year old mother of 6, says that she has delivered all her children with a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) in her village, 12 kilometers from the health facility. This was as a result of not having funds to transport herself to the health facility or to buy the necessary supplies during labor and delivery. When a team health worker from the government hospital had a community outreach program in her village, they gave out free health items including Maama Kits. In this outreach event, health workers like Asha shared the importance of having children born in a health facility with the basics required for a safe delivery.


 

The annual rate of maternal deaths in Uganda is notably high, due in large part to unsafe and unclean deliveries. In an effort to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, the Maama kit is a cost-effective measure to ensure that child birth is conducted in a safe and clean environment. The Maama kit consists of basic supplies that are required at child birth: sterile gloves, plastic sheets, cord ligature, razor blades, tetracycline, cotton gauze, soap, and sanitary pads.

Maama kits provide information to women, men, and communities on the importance of delivering babies in a clean environment. Organizations such as the Youth & Community Health Counselling Initiative (YCHCI) work with partner organizations such as the ACCT to provide these kits for free so that all women may have access to a clean and safe birth. The goal is to supply Maama kits to all women who deliver in health care units and communities.

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On the far right, Lorie is working with a young mother and child at a clinic with Jungle Medical Missions

The Maama kit also improves the quality and utilization of reproduction health services, as they attract many mothers to attend Antenatal Clinics (ANC) with the opportunity to receive a free Maama kit. Mothers are then also more likely to give birth at the health units. The kit has also had the effect of improving the strained relationship between health workers, expectant mothers, and TBAs.

The Maama kit was launched in Uganda in 2003 with support of the World Health Organization in an effort to reduce infections and deaths of mothers associated with poor hygiene and unclean delivery environments. At the time of launch, it was estimated that about 60% of expectant mothers nationwide were delivering at home either by TBAs or relatives. Expectant mothers in labor are required to bring their own birthing supplies. Many mothers who cannot afford supplies will simply stay away from health units when told to buy items such as gloves.  This contributes to the high maternal mortality rate of 500 women per 100,000 live births in Uganda compared to the maternal mortality rate of 20 women per 100,000 live births in the United States.

However, this high rate of maternal mortality can also be attributed a delay in seeking health care, often due to one of three reasons:

  1. Mothers delay to seeking healthcare services when they realize that they are pregnant until a few weeks before labor, or even at labor. When most women go into labor, they resort to herbs such as “wandering jew” to help speed up their labor. This detrimental herb is a potent muscle constrictor and can cause the uterus to contract against a closed cervix. This is a leading cause of uterine rupture.
  2. Secondly, travel in Uganda is difficult, since the means of transport are not readily available, and the roads are unpaved and often rutted – especially in the rural settings – so many mothers end up laboring and giving birth either at home or on the way to the health facility. This creates an unsafe child bearing environment and increases the likelihood of infection or even death. This risk is reduced with a Maama kit.
  3. Thirdly, there is a delay in instituting care at the facility. Because every mother in labor is expected to bring her own birthing supplies,many health workers will be hesitant to work on a patient with bare hands for fear of getting infections like HIV and Hepatitis, so the mother would be in labor longer or may bleed much more than expected because the health worker has nothing to use on her. In Uganda 75% of the population lives below the poverty line, with many people surviving on less than $1 per day so, As well, the doctor to patient ratio in Uganda is 1 doctor for 20,000 patients, which leaves the patients at the mercy of the doctor’s patience and resources. If a patient comes with even a bare minimum of a Maama kit, then they stand better chances of being served much earlier and avoiding negative outcomes.

 


 

Namazzi*, a 24 year old mother of 2, says her oldest has suffered his whole life. She says “As a young mother I never knew what labor pains were so I kept home as I waited for my husband, to tell him how I was feeling. My neighbor found me restless in the house and asked me to go to the health facility. While on our way I had my baby born and it was the well-wishers who helped to deliver me of my child. All I had was a small sheet (leesu) which I used to cover the baby until we reached the health center. At 2 weeks my baby started falling sick and the health worker told me that he had signs and symptoms of tetanus. This I think he got from the place of birth since it was unclean. The baby is still unwell and displays effects from the disease. I got all the necessary care and support for my other baby from the health workers since I knew what to do as I delivered from a health facility and I had a Maama kit which helped me to have a safe delivery from a safe environment.” 

 


 

In a nut shell, the introduction of the Maama kit is a stepping stone in the prevention of maternal deaths, especially for low-income populations in Uganda. Maama kits also give health workers the assurance of not transmitting infections to the mother and the new born.

 


 

Mr and Mrs Mukisa* of Kyanja, a suburb of Kampala, have had 4 children born from a clinic near their home. In the clinic all the antenatal services  and necessary items needed during labor are paid for. One day a friend told them of the free services offered in a government facility of Komamboga, which they decided to take on. “One day while my husband was away, I had no money to go for my next appointment in a clinic so I wanted to borrow money from my neighbor Sarah.* She had no money too but told me she has had 2 children born at Komamboga health center and had attended antenatal there. She said that during ANC she was given some free items called a Maama kit which helped her during labor and delivery. This made me also return to a government facility to access the free services there and to maybe get this kit too which can help me during labor and delivery and indeed it helped me to save a lot of money.” So I thank my friend for sharing with me the information on the free service of the Maama kit.

 


 

Join the ACCT in providing free Maama Kits in Uganda. $10 will provide one kit to support an expecting mother during delivery. Click here for more info!

* Names have been changed to protect privacy

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Asha handing out Maama Kits on her birthday

 

A Happy Coincidence

Reflections by John Rackleff

Many have heard me say, “coincidences are God’s sense of humor”. While on Safari in Lake Mburo National Park in July 2017, one of the ACCT members was a little claustrophobic and asked to sit in the front of the safari van. Upon taking her seat, the driver, Franklin, asked her if she was a doctor, as he had heard us discussing things in medical terms. When Franklin heard she was a nurse and was with a team of doctors, he shared that he too was a medical doctor! It seems that safari drivers in Uganda can earn more than doctors, by multiples!

 

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John and Ruth, Dr. Franklin’s wife, on Safari in Murchison Falls National Park

In June of 2018, the team returned to Uganda with a physician in country, and through Franklin we could more easily purchase pharmaceutical and medical supplies in country. We also benefited from partnering with his medical team as they ran village clinics, slum clinics, and clinics for our children homes. This was a huge benefit to the ACCT as well as a benefit to hundreds of people in villages and slums who do not have easy access to medical care. We learned the Ugandan way of practicing medicine, the Ugandan way of communicating with the patients, and we all felt that we were finally getting the clinics done with the best utilization of our assets.

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A clinic in rural Uganda ran by Dr. Franklin’s team and supported by the ACCT

Move forward to November 2018: Dr Franklin Muwanguzi has traveled to the U.S. for a medical conference in Kentucky but took the time to fly to Oregon to spend time with several of the ACCT team members. Franklin shadowed US physicians, observed our driving habits, and had a number of opportunities to speak to several groups concerning his mission. Dr Franklin (as he is known to us) is an excellent speaker and shares a passion with all of us to organize a sustainable medical care model for all Ugandans.

 

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Dr. Franklin presenting at the Smullin Center in Oregon

He is the proud owner of Wild Excursions Uganda (www.we-uganda.com), booking safari trips at cost plus 10% with half of the profit going to support his other endeavor, Jungle Medical Missions. His dream is to create a series of clinics around Uganda to support a population that cannot otherwise afford health care. These clinics are sponsored by Dr. Franklin’s safari company and by a portion of his clinics catering to the wealthy instead of having them traveling to other countries for first-rate medical care. To listen to Dr Franklin is to share his dream. To have him involved with the ACCT is an answer to prayer. And once again, God smiles!

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Dr. Franklin presenting with members of the ACCT in Medford, Oregon

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Dr. Franklin with Dr. Chris and Dr. Lorie in Redwoods National Park

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John, the author, with Dr. Franklin in San Francisco

Hope in the Slums

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Melanie, the author, at the Amahoro Community School in Matugga

 

 

How do you tell the story of living a lifelong dream?   My dream of embracing people regardless of race, nation, or language became so much more through Amahoro Children’s and Community Team (ACCT).  Let me go back to the start…

At the age of 12 years old I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. It was at that time that I seriously felt as though God was calling me be a missionary. I anxiously watched as missionaries told their stories of travels, trials, and tribulations, and thought “what if Jesus chose me to do that?”  In the early 90’s after going through a heartbreaking divorce, I told my mother, “I just want to go to Africa and rock babies!”  Well God listens and God answers prayers, in His own time! In April 2018 I joined the ACCT to go to Uganda, to share with open arms, and ultimately learn about a community.

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At the Buwala home, just outside of Jinja Uganda

For my first international intercontinental flight at 66 years old, I prepared as well as possible. I met the team at PDX, and from there we flew to Amsterdam, Kigali Rwanda, then Entebbe, Uganda.  There we were met by some of the most intelligent and spiritual young people I have ever met. Not only were the Americans I was traveling with top notch respected professionals–the Ugandan part of our team measured up to be incredible, intelligent, driven young women and men whose desire was to drive away unnecessary deaths due to poverty in their medical world, and to provide quality care of children who have been left parentless or alone.

I could tell you how fabulous East Africa is: how you should not miss out on seeing an elephant pulling on an acacia branch and the graceful giraffe on the African safari of the sub-Saharan. I could tell you about the early morning boat trip on the Nile River, with breakfast prepared and served like a gourmet picnic “in the bush.”  I could tell you about the unique resorts and lodges with wonderful hosts and performers around the campfire playing the drums, dancing in native dress, and sharing their culture. I instead choose to tell you about the day we went into Kisenyi slums to support the nutrition project with the children and young adults.

As I was in the slums during one of our visits conducting the Nutrition Program, a young boy came to me and asked “why are you so happy?” I told him I was happy because I had the privilege to be here with him helping to provide him with a meal. He said again “but you are so happy?” with a question in his voice.  I told him about Jesus Christ being in my heart and that I was happy I could share Jesus with him. After a short trip down the Roman road and to John 3:16, this young boy prayed after me asking Jesus to come into his heart, to save him from his sins and to forgive him.  This young boy professed to be a “Jesus Believer” to his Ugandan mentors as well. The boy and I agreed that we would see each other again, God willing, before we would meet in heaven.

In Kisenyi slums, the boys get to eat three times a week. It’s a meal of rice and beans in a bowl, no fork or spoon, sometimes with a chapati (tortilla like bread) and soemtimes with juice.  No matter what these children believe as far as their religion, they receive a meal. There is no difference in a person because of their religion.  While in Uganda to help provide a service, I chose to show the love of Christ to all the children, and through this my faith has been revealed.

Stepping into Kisenyi was a sight to behold and a smell that I will never forget. Most Uganda is not like this, as Kisenyi is one of the slums in the capital city of Kampala. In the dwellings in the slums it is dark. Houses are one sometimes two rooms made from a combination of unburnt bricks, mud, poles, and cement blocks. Roofs are corrugated iron sheets or thatched, and floors can be a mixture of stone, cement, tiles, and earth. Understandably, these structures have a short lifespan and are subjected to harsh weather conditions and flooding.  Often these structures are overcrowded. Cracked walls, dirty floors, faded paint, and rusted materials are common features. The settlements in the slums often lack clean water and proper sanitation. This leads to poor hygiene and causes disease to spread quickly. But hope is not lost in the Kisenyi slums.

How heartwarming it was to witness positivity in a place that seemed bleak from the outside! The warmth of the locals, the trust in human interaction, and the depth of the feelings of connection was a wonderful thing to be a part of. Meeting the young Jesus believer was just one of the relationships I took away from Kisenyi.  I was honored to have the opportunity to pray with a young woman with the black eye and an injured hand who had been beaten. And I was honored to meet an old woman who has given 10 years of her life as a midwife in the darkness of the slum in a commitment to her faith.  It was a privilege to pray as I sat in that dark room that was and is used to bring life into this world.

I came away from Uganda with a deep desire to return. My heart will be with the beautiful children and people of Uganda. Their faith has made me stronger. Their faith must be “bigger” than my faith. I can turn on a faucet and receive clean, hot water within just a few seconds. They must have faith that there will be water in the borehole, that they will be able to make it to and from the borehole, that they have charcoal to light a fire and that the water will boil and have no amoebas in it.

I realize now that true faith is about your total trust being in one Sovereign God. That is God our Father, Jesus our Savior and The Holy Spirit, our Guide. God loves all the people that He created, regardless of race, nation, language, there are no barriers for God. Without THAT I have no faith.  And so I come away knowing that without faith I can do nothing, but with faith in Him, we can do all things (Philippians 4:13).

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Visiting the mango trees in Buwala

What it means to live in a Global Community

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Austin, the author, at the Amahoro Children Community School June 2018

This past summer it was an absolute pleasure to be back in Uganda. The people are exceptional, the work we do feels meaningful and provides a sense of fulfillment, and the weather is lovely. In light of the current discourse about nationalism and globalism, you might be wondering why the ACCT works in Uganda. Part of the answer is that Uganda is a developing country with high rates of poverty, a high burden of disease and a large number of orphans and vulnerable children. In other words, the need is great. Another part of the answer is that we have developed strong relationships with exceptional leaders on the ground in Uganda, such as Caleb and Franklin. They are passionate about addressing poverty and improving health aren’t afraid to dream big to serve those in need. These connections are a valuable asset which makes our work in Uganda possible.

A final part of the answer, which I think is particularly important, is that we live in a global community and have an obligation to serve those in need wherever they may live. What exactly does it mean to live in a global community? For me it is the idea that although cultural differences and political boundaries separate people around the world, we have more commonalities than differences. This is one of the most important lessons I have learned during the time I’ve spent in Uganda.

As I have built relationships with the people we serve in Uganda, such as a young man named Joshua in Kisenyi slum, I have come to realize that we share more in common than I at first assumed. Joshua has high hopes of building a bright future for himself, just like I do, but the difference is that there are many more resources and opportunities available to individuals who live in the United States. Joshua is a refugee from Burundi, where he fled violent political unrest, extreme food insecurity, and economic decline. He came to Uganda with his mother, but they became separated somewhere along the way and he has not been able to reunite with her despite his continued efforts. Joshua enjoys studying science and wants to be a doctor. He has always struck me as a kind and curious young man with definite potential of reaching his dream. Through connections with the global community, we can continue to support Joshua as he works toward his goals.

Though reading statistics on poverty is one important way to get a picture of the scale of the issue, it is not very effective in helping us empathize with others. The same problem may result from the news stories we hear. Recognizing that we live in a global community requires being able to empathize with others who are geographically and culturally removed from us. Travelling to Uganda with the ACCT has helped me gain a sense of empathy for the people that I work with. I cannot fully comprehend what they are going through or what it is like, but by working with people in a relational way I have come to understand that they are not that different from you and I.

We are taught that the bold lines on a map have some deep significance. That the people on one side of the line are somehow inherently different than the people on the other side of the line. But suddenly you are standing at one of those borders and there is no giant line to be seen. Just a stretch of space like any other. As you begin talking to the people on the other side of that line, you might be struck by what you share in common. Acknowledging that we live in a global community means that on top of caring about domestic issues, we must recognize the commonalities we share with those across the globe and support them for our best chance at universal success.

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Austin is currently a masters student at Duke University, where he is studying Public Health and applying for medical school.

 

Austin’s work embodies compassion: We the ACCT seek to reduce suffering with humility and empathy—striving to show compassion through big picture thinking

 

The Mission Trip Mindframe

Helpful and Hurtful

-It’s not a binary, but a mindframe.

 

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Author Lindsey at the Amahoro Community School, June 2018

When people think about service or mission trips, they usually think about a group of people or a particular organization. Inherently, mission or service trips should be about the people the organization is designed to serve, not about the people offering services or resources. To align the intention to serve with the appropriate actions, I want to challenge you to think about your actions, intentions, and motives from a unique lens, not the binary good or bad, but rather from a mindframe of helpful and hurtful.

 

It takes an open mind and a willing heart to step out of one’s comfort zone and serve others, and this process is not easy for most people, and it isn’t supposed to be. Serving others can be a life-changing experience with gratifying emotions and joy-filled relationships! All good things! The challenge for those involved with volunteer projects is to reflect on the words that are said and the actions that are shown, to ensure that they are helpful to the cause and not harmful to the individuals being served.

Here are a few examples of topics to view from the mindframe of helpful and hurtful:

  • Here is a familiar phrase that I’ve heard while on a service trip: “It takes a lot of money to come all of the way to your beautiful country, I hope I can come back one day!”
    • At a glance, this may seem harmless or even a warm message showing that they want the relationship to last and they hope to visit again. Pause. Consider the audience – what does the community that you’re serving look like? Do they have enough money to provide for themselves or their families? Do they regularly eat meals? Do they have the same privilege to even consider travelling abroad or to other communities to help serve others, let alone provide for themselves? Are those words helpful or hurtful to the people being served? How could they be changed to send a more helpful message? Perhaps these words are more helpful, “Thank you for welcoming me into your lives and beautiful country. I hope I can come back one day!”
  • I have also heard statements like, “Let me know if there’s ever a time to donate towards this wonderful organization, I have lots of old clothes and toys that I can donate.”
    • From those individuals, thank you. Thank you for taking a moment to consider others, but let’s go deeper…Think about the needs of those being served, and if you really don’t know – it is okay to ask the people already involved in the organization who are knowledgeable! Communication is key to relationships, and carrying your own assumptions into conversations can turn out to hurtful. Maybe the greatest need is guidance for how to manage money or land, or work towards food security. Our hand-me downs more often than not may be somewhat helpful, but not the most helpful. We can do more! These words get to the root of offering resources, “What is the greatest need of the community, and what can I do to help?”

 

Thinking through the mindframe of helpful and hurtful can be exhausting, but it is so worth it to see every conversation as a learning opportunity. Everyone on this earth has something to offer.

Take the time to be open to others and approach service with a heart of gratitude and consideration. Be willing to learn something new, and let me know if it turns out to be a helpful or experience along the way.

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From right to left, Nurse Zurah, Lindsey, and John setting up the pharmacy June 2018

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Helpful and Hurtful

-It’s not a binary, but a mindframe.

So what is helpful?

Human relationships thrive on mutual interests and shared experiences. When engaging in conversations with those who you serve, it is important to make them feel valued and significant. One’s worth should not be based on material things or status in society, but rather their interests, goals and aspirations for the future. Here are some helpful ways that I have gotten to know those that I serve through ACCT in Uganda:

  • Speaking with the children of the Amahoro Homes is usually an easy thing to do, as they often have open hearts and welcoming smiles. Regardless of if the children have a particular question for me or not, just like the children I work with in the US, every child has a favorite activity, sport or dream that they are usually willing to share with you if you show interest in their life. Ask! You will never know what bring someone joy until you engage and allow them to share!
  • Ask about what hobbies they have and if they like music. Be prepared to sing a few songs, and even dance and drum along! And of course, be prepared to learn about excellent East African artists. Keep your ears and your heart open!
  • Take it a step further if you have the means – friendship means looking out for one another and helping in times of need. When you meet a child who shares their interests and aspirations with you, do your best to support them in their growth in whatever capacity you can
  • Remind yourself to listen–or to sit in silence. You can show a lot of support and human kindness by listening to what children and youth of the Amahoro Homes have to say, or by just being their friend and being with them until they are comfortable to talk. These actions of support can speak louder than any words!

Since contributing to the ACCT Uganda Service trip in June 2018, Lindsey has been teaching Kindergarten in a school in Chesterfield Virginia.

Though self examination can be uncomfortable, it ultimately will make us better people. If you have any questions about the mindset of helpful vs. hurtful or how to make the best positive impact please don’t hesitate to ask. The Amahoro Children & Community Team exists to support our team members in self examination so that we can continue to better serve the global community. Our service trips bring people of diverse backgrounds and culture closer together, challenging assumptions and beliefs for all who join us.

 

Our New Look

The ACCT established partnerships to run medical clinics in 2018, giving us a new look. Blog written by Dr. Chris Morgan

The original intention in working with the Amahoro Children’s Home in Uganda was not to conduct medical clinics. On our first trip, a small group of committed individuals and physicians asked our host and friend, Caleb Rukundo, “What can we do for you?” It was an unusual question, because most foreigners come to Uganda and tell Ugandans what they need. Caleb said, “Do medical clinics and HIV testing”. Caleb has a true talent of figuring out what you really want to do and encouraging you to make it happen.

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Caleb Rukundo and family in their home village with the Morgan family, 2017

This is the ACCT’s sixth year of doing medical clinics, and we had some momentous firsts. This was our first year that we were able to track demographic data – resources are limited when you set up a clinic in the bush – and we have been able to share that information with Jungle Medical Missions Uganda, run by our good friend Dr. Franklin. As well, it was our first year of doing combined medical clinics with Ugandan nurses and doctors, leveraging Dr. Franklin’s extensive network around the country to deliver care in 5 separate locations.

Six years ago, our medical clinics were done in the open, in what the locals call “the bush,” in the thick grass under a tree, searching for relief from the sun and rain. We even had to treat one of the clinic workers when in insect came down from above in 2017. Our first clinic this year was inside the church instead between the shrubs. We had a full lab, HIV testing and counseling, six Ugandan nurses, a Ugandan doctor we could consult with or arrange follow up with for our patients, individual exam rooms, and a nearly full pharmacy with over 75 different drugs. In partnering with local help, not only were we invited inside the church, but our services were legitimized as well.

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Clinic in the church in Nakasongola, 2018

In Uganda, there is one doctor for 20,000 patients. Not one specialist, or one practice. One doctor. So many Ugandans have never seen a medical doctor. While the health system may be limited, it is organized to get as many patients as possible to care in the smoothest way possible. Below, here is a rough layout of the country’s organization.

Health Centers

Health Center 1: Village Health Team

Health Center 2: Parish: There is a nurse and a midwife, but sometimes no drugs

Health Center 3: County level: This is the first center that has  a lab. They can take blood samples and are ran by clinic officers. Similar to PAs. What they can’t handle they can refer to health center 4

Health Center 4: District Hospital. First level where they can do IV drugs. The first time you are going to meet an OR. Serves hundreds of thousands of people. These centers can handle life threatening emergencies. The first time you meet a medical officer. There are 2 Doctors with a lab and nurses

Regional Hospitals: specialist clinics. Dentists, GYNs, etc.

National Hospital in Kampala: You can find many specialists and consultants. The first time you see an ICU. The ICU only had 4 beds before renovation

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Asha from the Youth & Community Health Counseling Initiative for individuals with HIV & AIDS

This year we had the opportunity to practice protected against malpractice. Even when you do everything right things can go wrong. So this year we officially worked under a Ugandan license thanks to a local connection. This was another potential crisis averted thanks to local expertise.

Our clinical demographic data collection was coordinated between Dr Franklin, our gracious mentor, and Matt Miner, one of our group. This was customized database keeps track of personal information, diagnoses, medications given, and follow up if any. This system allowed us to monitor and track patients and communities in ways we never have, and we will be using a computer-based system in the years ahead.

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Registration run by Amahoro Children’s Home Administrators Peace and Hapi

While we have had Ugandans as translators at clinics before, having a Ugandan nurse was a benefit. They understood where the interview was going and made a safety net if we did something unusual. They might say “doctor, are you sure?” The joy of working with a nurse!

Another thing we learned from Dr. Franklin was that the Ugandan patient must leave with a prescription of something for them to be satisfied with the visit. This is something we learned long ago through experience and we had confirmed this year, in Dr. Franklin’s medical introduction, and why will still bring tens of thousands of Ibuprofen and Tylenol. Dr. Franklin suggested deworming medicine and vitamins as placebos as well. This novel concept of placebos that actually benefit the patients needs as well is a one we are glad to know!

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The pharmacy

We have made significant improvements this year providing medical options to Ugandans in remote villages. Although healthcare is free, the system is strained. All the while we are learning how to improve our practice as well.

Our goal is not to create an American Healthcare system in Uganda or for us to adopt a Ugandan Health delivery system, but to try to find a blend, a union between the two We are US doctors in their East African country, treating their people, but if we can all learn and strive to do a better job and create a better world, we must!

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Grandma “Jaja” Jean running eye checks

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Annette, Dr. Franklin’s clinic administrator, monitoring a clinic that saw over 200 patients in one day

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Snapshots from the clinic in the Evangelical church in Nakasongola

The ACCT is committed to providing educational and medical services and support to vulnerable children and their communities throughout Uganda. At the core of it, the ACCT is a service organization; we partner with educators and medical professionals to give our time and work alongside local experts.

 

Sharing stories from the ACCT 2018 trip to Uganda

June 15th, 2018

What kind of travel article would you like to read? What catches your eye, piques your interest, or speaks to your soul? When following the ACCT trip from home I look to hear stories, new developments, and explanations of how things are now running.

Honesty, my curiosity often turns to anxiety when I realize I’m behind on the blog—with our previous goal of writing one blog post per day the participants on the trip were goaded into writing often and readers had a considerable amount of homework. This year we will be posting stories from our trip throughout the year to keep readers up to date and excited for more.

Whether you’ve been on a trip and you’re Facebook friends with Caleb Rukundo or if this is your first time hearing about the ACCT, I hope this will keep you satiated for the time being.

The Amahoro School

In the Matugga neighborhood of the capital city of Kampala, the Hope at the Edge group raised money to build the first Amahoro Children’s Home in 2009. In February 2018, the completed Amahoro School opened at the same site in Matugga with the start of the school year here in Uganda.

The Amahoro Children NGO is managed by Caleb Rukundo, who has worked with a handful of organizations of the years, including the ACCT nonprofit, to raise funding for food, housing, and school fees for vulnerable children. With the opening of the new school, the youth living at the Amahoro Home no longer pay school fees to get an education. The organization’s costs now include teacher salaries, but these will eventually be offset by the school fees of the children in the Matugga area who also attend the school. Including the 50 students living in the Amahoro Children’s Home, the Amahoro School serves 227 students from preschool to 6th grade.

The ACCT is currently involved with the school in two ways: funding startup costs for the school and running a workshop for knowledge exchange between certified Ugandan teachers at the Amahoro School and educators from the US. Stay tuned for more information on the Amahoro School in its first year.

Amahoro Community School NurseryPhoto courtesy of Amahoro Community Schools, May 2018

Medical Clinics

On safari in Lake Mburo National Park in 2017, the ACCT crossed paths with a Ugandan born Doctor named Franklin Muwanguzi. As part of his practice, Franklin puts on free clinics in areas where medical care is hard to come by, such as remote villages or city slums. There is 1 medical doctor for every 20,000 people in Uganda, which can overburden local doctors and cause them to work at breakneck speed.

Members of the ACCT have been putting on informal medical clinics at Children’s homes since 2013, with limited resources and supplies from the US. This year the ACCT is proud to partner with both Jungle Medical Missions Uganda (http://jmmuganda.com/) and the Youth and Community Health Counseling Initiative for HIV and AIDS (https://www.facebook.com/ychciug/) to provide more services and more consistent care.

Working alongside local medical professionals to conduct medical clinics upgrades the services we can provide in country. The one clinic we conducted together in the first couple days of the trip showed us how much we can benefit from working alongside local expertise. I am excited to continue to be a part of cultural exchange, providing services for the community as well as cultural exchange and learning opportunities for both local and foreign specialists.

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Ntuti Village, June 2018

ACCT’s first Medical Clinic with Jungle Medical Missions Uganda

Safari

On our safari in Murchison Falls National Park, not only did we see newborn lion cubs, herds of elephants, giraffes, hippos, and a leopard, we raised money for medical clinics with Wild Excursions Uganda. Dr. Franklin and his wife Ruth run a safari guide company where the proceeds to go funding medical clinics throughout Uganda.

In Uganda, being a safari guide pays more and affords a better quality of life than being a medical doctor or lawyer. Though Franklin graduated top of his class in medical school and Ruth is an environmental lawyer with royal heritage in the Tooro tribe, they run a safari business to raise money for the free medical clinics that Franklin and his team put on in the slums and villages where medical care is hard to come by. To learn more about how to go on a break taking vacation for a good cause, visit www.we-uganda.com.

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Murchison Falls National Park, June 2018

A mother of three one week old lion cubs and ACCT members on Safari within striking distance

Our Mission and Core Values

We are aligned by our mission and core values. Check out this section at the end of each blog!

Mission Statement

We are a non-profit committed to providing educational and medical services and support to vulnerable children and their communities throughout Uganda.

Core Values

Faith: The ACCT serves people of all faiths throughout Uganda, humbly committing ourselves to the higher purpose of service within a primarily Christian population

Service: At the core of it, the ACCT is a service organization; we partner with educators and medical professionals to give our time and work alongside local experts

Respect: We work to preserve the dignity of the people we serve, showing respect for the large diversity of cultures and individuals in Uganda and throughout the world

Self-examination: Our service trips bring people of diverse backgrounds and culture closer together, challenging assumptions and beliefs for all who join us

Compassion: We seek to reduce suffering with humility and empathy—striving to show compassion through big picture thinking